“Everyone is the other, and no one is himself.”Martin Heidegger Being and Time
Today’s discussion got into some interesting territory and it made me stop and think about the deep integration of magic into the life of the practitioner. Magic is a way of being in the world more than any specific set of actions or principle beliefs. Our ontologies encode assumptions about the metaphysics of the universe that the magical world view demands to hold true. It is through these ontological perspectives that we construct not only our understanding of the possibility-space we inhabit but also our nature.
Are we mere matter? What is human in our nature? What does it mean to practice magic? To this, my mind turns to Heidegger. The mage is an embodiment of dasein. Magic is our process of authentic choice. We make the meaning of our life through the individual actions that are obfuscated from the social structure at large by the fear of the nothingness our leap to the essence of our being represents. It threatens to break the fragile vessels of category we build up to facilitate social knowledge transfer by the direct and indisputable experience of the ineffable.
In this way we stand at the door of the abyss, watching the shapes that try to encapsulate the nature of being dissolve before the epistemic nothingness. We are tasked with carrying the knowledge of the unknown realms of death. Death, which proves to be inexpressible through its existence beyond the experience of the other. It is only through this dark mirror that meaning resolves. Within that resolution are the workings of all of our spells.
This is why the fool must be inscrutable. Why the mage must address the chthonic. It is only through the experience and confrontation with death that life can be given its essential nature and meaning can flourish.
At least, these are the thoughts of one mage. 🙂
Ego Dormio Cum Spiro